Public Works Contractors Association of Maryland

Public Works Contractors Association of Maryland

Founded over 50 years ago, the Public Works Contractors Association of Maryland, Incorporated, continues today to be a leading force in advancing the interest of the underground utility construction industry in Maryland. The shared ideals and commitment to providing a safe, professional and profitable industry still form the common bond which first united a handful of contractors to establish this Association.

In 1954, ten utility contractors - Peter Ellis, Pat Marinelli, D.A. Foster, Tom Marinelli, John Smarge, Tony Canova, Dave Stokely, Gino Ventresca, Jules DiMeglio and Joe Stone — met in a small office in Hyattsville, Maryland, to lay out and found the organization that would provide them, and other utility contractors throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area, with the collective representation they saw as essential to staying on top of an ever-changing industry, an industry greatly in need of some common purpose and direction. With the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's recently retired Engineering Section Head, J.R. Devilbliss servingas the Association's first Executive Director, the PWCA, (then the Public Works Contractors Association of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area) was off and running.

In 1964, in response to a need for increased visibility on Capitol Hill, five of our founding members — Peter Ellis, Pat Marinelli, Tom Marinelli, Joe Stone and D.A. Foster — joined Laurence Seibel to lay the groundwork for what would become the National Utility Contractors Association. NUCA has since grown to become the parent organization of local chapters of utility contractors around the nation and has increased its presence, and the presence of the contractors it represents, to an intergral postion in the policy making process for construction industry, environmental regulation, work place safety and many other areas which impact upon the utility construction industry.

Throughout its history, the PWCA has played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of the utility construction industry in Maryland. By maintaining an active presence in Annapolis, the PWCA's members have successful influenced legislation which provides necessary protections for contractors in areas like locating underground utilities ("Miss Utility"), mechanic's lien rights for water and sewer contractors, and ensuring adequate protection of payment in private contracting.

The PWCA has also maintained its close relationship with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, through regular meetings with staff to address issues which affect all businesses and by participating in public hearing and meeting with the Commissioners. The continuing dialogue between the PWCA and the WSSC helps to ensure that the highest quality of service can be provided for the most competitive price to the ratepayers of the Sanitary District.

In the last decade, on two separate occasions, the PWCA or one of its members, has also taken a leadership role in advancing the interest of free, open and equal access to public contracting when it members undertook to dismantle a contracting preference program implemented by the WSSC which violated the fundamental right of equal protection under the law guaranteed by our Constitution. The resolve of the member companies of the PWCA to stand up for, and seek legal redress for violations of, such important constitutional rights has set a standard for this Association as we enter the new Millenium.

The challenges our industry faces are many and varied. The changes and advances in the way our industry functions are already beginning to be felt. New technologies, more sophisticated equipment, faster and more efficient means of communicating information all drive the direction our industry will follow in the future. Even within our own backyard, the forces of change are at work. "Privatization", "competitive action", "quality improvement" are today's buzzwords. What they mean for tomorrow for our industry will be shaped by the way our Association and its members respond to these changes. We must remain vigilant in the principals upon which this Association was founded, and we must continue our efforts to advance the collective interest of our industry.